Significant rise in COVID-19 cases among foreigners, says Malaysia Health DG

PUTRAJAYA (BERNAMA) – The actual daily case graph of all COVID-19 cases in Malaysia has shown a significant increase in positive cases involving non-Malaysians since April 28, said Malaysian Health Director-General Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.

Detailing the development, he said this was due to foreign import cases as well as the spread of the virus among non-Malaysians at several Immigration Detention Depots and foreign workers in various sectors in the community.

“This means the country is facing a new challenge which we need to tackle together, and that’s the increase in COVID-19 cases among non-Malaysians,” he said at the daily press conference on COVID-19 at the Ministry of Health (MoH) yesterday.

Although foreigners are contributing to the increased number of cases, Dr Noor Hisham stressed that they should not be ostracised or stigmatised by Malaysians.

While admitting that there was very limited interaction between Malaysians and non-Malaysians, he explained that the presence of foreign workers had helped empower the country’s economy.

Malaysian Health Director-General Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah during a press conference. PHOTO: BERNAMA

“Naturally, we need to identify and find solutions to tackle the issue of COVID-19 transmissions among them.

“That’s why the approach of the whole government machinery, non-governmental organisations (NGO) and the public is needed so that the issue can be fully addressed,” he said.

For that purpose, Dr Noor Hisham said several steps needed to be taken, including immediately overcoming the problem of confined and cramped accommodations for foreign workers to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases.

He said that it was compulsory for foreign workers (especially in the construction and security sectors) in all red zones to be screened for COVID-19 as directed by the government, while those in the yellow and greens zones were encouraged to undergo screening through the initiative of their employers.

He said the embassies of the foreign workers and other NGOs were working together to ensure effective communication in relaying the actual current COVID-19 situation as well as guidelines that needed to be adhered to by non-Malaysians.

“Employers are responsible in educating their foreign workers about cleanliness and compliance with stipulated standard operating procedures (SOP) in order to break the chain of COVID-19 infections,” he said.